Missed Weeknotes the last two weeks.
Considering adding a review section to my website, where I look at the stories of cartoons, comics, etc. I used to work in a comic book store in Tucson and got my fix doing that kind of thing on the reg. Chats with customers over plotlines, twists, art, and the like. Miss doing that, so this would be a way for me to stretch those muscles.
To be fair, last week there was very little time for writing. Between Valentine’s Day and family coming to visit, I couldn’t sit as much as I would have liked. Very little “new” writing took place. In fact, this was made even more frustrating when I realized I technically had half the week off. One of my tutoring clients took a small vacation, so I was off for mornings. In my head I thought, “YES. LOOK AT ALL THIS TIME YOU HAVE. NOTHING WILL GET IN YOUR WAY.”
Then everything gets in your way.
I was able to write a sentence, just a sentence, a new sentence, in my Field Notes Bullet Journal I carry with me, scribbled down like the ravings of a madman. But it was enough.
I had to force myself to believe it was enough.
Because professional writers, published authors, will tell you things like, “It doesn’t matter how much you write,” or, “Get 500 words, 1,000 words, 2,000 words, 20 words. That still counts towards your book.” That’s all fine and good. Sometimes the days or times aren’t there, and when it’s not your full-time job and the paid work gets in the way (Trust me. Always do the paid work), it can leave very little time for personal projects. 500 words or less HAS to be enough.
But the rub is they don’t tell you the trick: YOU need to convince yourself it’s enough.
When you write only 20 words down for a story, there’s a disconnect, a divide, a piece that’s missing between you and what you expected of yourself. You didn’t reach the bar set, by yourself, in your own head. So not only could you not hit the goal you created, realistically thinking you could get it, the fact that you couldn’t get it means you’re an even bigger failure in your own eyes.
Professional authors are used to it because that’s been their job for so long. at one point, however, they were most likely faced with this crossroads.
They needed to tell themselves, “This is enough.”
Is a mental hurdle I’m sure many of us “gonnabe” authors are still trying to overcome. See, it’s not enough to write the words. In fact, writing 500 words might be considered a pretty good day. According to Warren Ellis:
Georges Simenon used to write a novel in eight days, producing between six thousand and eight thousand words a day. He’d start at dawn each day and be done by 10.30am, drenched in sweat. In his younger days, it’s said, he’d throw up after completing his shift. One of my favourite stories about Michael Moorcock is that he’d start a book on a Monday when the bill from Harrods came in and deliver the novel on Friday to get the cheque to pay it.
I cannot imagine what these things are like. I’m a 500-word-a-day novelist.
I’m sensing there was probably a lot of nicotine involved in all parties.
The point being they needed to confront those facts.
That statement of, “This. Is. Enough.”
It’s a mental toll. You’re battling with your own inner demons, the ones screaming, “You’re not good enough, you’re not doing enough, there’s always time for more, kick your family out of your life and bury all your friends so you can off and die at the keyboard.”
I feel like pros miss that.
Maybe because they don’t want to say it. Maybe because it hurt so much when they had to come to grips with accepting that a 34-word day was enough. I don’t know. It’s not all published/professional authors, far from it. I’m generalizing here.
Perhaps I was frustrated reading something on Twitter for the 5th time saying it’s okay to write 100 words in a day and be perfectly satisfied.
It has to be. Right?
Thanks for reading,
Check out mine and Arnie Bermudez’s webcomic, The Juan!